Even after four months of the Prime Minister's sanctioning three low-cost airports for Punjab, the project is yet to take off in this NRI capital of the state.
On June 28, PM Manmohan Singh had approved 51 low-cost airports in tier-2 and tier-3 cities and Jalandhar, Ferozepur and Ludhiana were on that map. The district administration here is, however, unaware of any groundwork that the Airport Authority of India (AAI) might have initiated. "I don't think any process for the airport is on, so far," deputy commissioner Varun Roojam said in reply to a query.
"The AAI team came in July and the district administration received orders to coordinate with it but we have no communication since," the DC added. In July, The AAI team led by joint general manager N Makhija had visited the Adampur air force station to check the economic and technical feasibility of opening it for civilian use but since the defence ministry found "security reasons" to object, the project was "shelved" temporarily.
Earlier also, successive state governments had made the airport in the city an election issue but the defence ministry's attitude had failed their efforts. People here saw hope when the prime minister had made the announcement. "The airport is must for the city," said Dr CS Pruthi, who has built a 300-bed super-specialty hospital in the city, adding: "Jalandhar has immense potential to become hub of international medical tourism."